Catalina 34

General Activities => Main Message Board => Topic started by: Terry Forshier on August 22, 2009, 10:29:56 AM

Title: battery chargers -- ProMariner Safety & FIRE Issue
Post by: Terry Forshier on August 22, 2009, 10:29:56 AM
I just went through another battery charger from promariner. This one was a 40a. Just fried it. I read a lot about the xantrex truecharge 2 20 amp chargers. I would like opinions on if this is adequate and where the best place on line to purchase. Always something..
Title: Re: battery chargers
Post by: Ron Hill on August 22, 2009, 01:27:59 PM
Terry : I've got the TrueCharge 20 and it's worked fine for the past 5 years.  I've got it connected to two house bank batteries and to the starting battery. 
The TrueCharge 40 also works well.
Title: Re: battery chargers
Post by: Bill Asbury on August 22, 2009, 02:41:45 PM
Terry, I second what Ron said.  I have had a Xantrex Truecharge 20 for a couple of years and no problems.  I have 4 Trojan T105 golf cart batteries in the house bank and a separate starting battery.
Also, as Ron said previously, I always put the battery selector switch on All before cranking the engine and switch to the house bank when anchored out.
Best wishes,
Title: Re: battery chargers
Post by: Stu Jackson on August 22, 2009, 07:47:12 PM
Terry, how many times did we have to tell you?,3073.0.html  We answered your same question in 2006.,3860.0.html

and Reply #6 here, the "don't say we didn't warn you":,3716.0.html

You may have also read John Nixon's excellent and informative Battery Charger evaluation, which answers your question about the TrueChrge "2"-20.   It's here:,4352.0.html

If you can still find an "original" TrueCharge 20 or 40, I'm sure many folks would be interested, because you only have to buy one. :D

You asked:  I would like opinions on if this is adequate and where the best place on line to purchase. Adequate for what?  Do you anchor out or daysail?  How long can you stay plugged in?  How big's your house bank?  You know, all that stuff we need to know to help you answer the question.

Best place online to purchase?  I'm sure there are some  comparative websites, but just about everyone uses Defender to compare.  It could be, however, Terry, that your chandlery right down the street from you may have a better price.  Only YOU can choose how to spend your money. :?
Title: Re: battery chargers
Post by: Terry Forshier on August 23, 2009, 05:03:43 AM
Is it just me or does it seem like some on this board cannot resist lecturning. I know I went through a series of promariner chargers and I know what we said in 2006 but this is 3 years later and the new truecharge 2's are out. I already got those "I told you so" answers from my wife. When I posted I wanted to ask the"friendly" group for their opinions.
This month I have had my AC go out, the battery charger fry, a fuel leak, oil in the bilge, my signet insturments go out and now it looks like I got hit by ightning. Please be kinder.
Title: SAFETY IS IMPORTANT Only If You Listen
Post by: Stu Jackson on August 23, 2009, 10:25:38 AM
Terry, quite frankly, NO.  How can I be "kinder" when it's a SAFETY issue.  Then you'd be disappointed (i.e., complain) we didn't warn you.

Many of the respondents to this board may be new and have older equipment on their older but new-to-them boats and they NEED to understand how LONG we've been trying to get you to understand that the three or four ProMariner chargers you kept buying could burn your boat up.  And many may simply NOT choose to read the links people like you have repeatedly insisted we provide so you don't have to do your own research.  I gave you the link to the NEW TrueCharge "2" - 20 in the Battery Charger Evaluation topic, which covered exactly the newer model you asked for & is clearly NOT the OLD TrueCharge 20 and 40 that people have mentioned here, because I knew if I didn't you'd ask for it.  As a matter of fact, while John Nixon wrote that tremendous evaluation,  I personally put it all together and posted it from a series of different topics, and actually added to it over time.

In the "don't say we didn't warn you" link, I wrote:  ...but, please, understand, many of these issues we have been noting are for your safety.  We, along with other Catalina Associations, were the ONLY place to obtain information about the dangers of the late-1980's wiring harness issues (see:, and the C36 Association was in the forefront of warnings about the freshwater pumps on M35 engines.   We do care, but we can't make you do anything.

Because of SAFETY issues, we developed the new CRITICAL UPGRADES message board topic and other C34 skipper  volunteers put it on the wiki, too:,5078.0.html  That topic also says we can't make you do anything.       

So, Terry, we've answered your same questions three or four times, clearly and repeatedly identified your charger as an important SAFETY issue that could burn up YOUR boat (not mine),  provided a wealth of information about a brand new generation of Xantrex chargers unavailable anywhere else on the web, which is for you and anyone else who chooses to read this message board, have provided links at YOUR request so YOU don't have to do YOUR own homework, and you're still ungrateful.  We also promptly answered your questions about your fuel leak and the other issues.  I sure hope things look up for you Terry.

If you think telling the truth is "lecturing," then your wife was right.     
Title: Re: battery chargers -- ProMariner Safety & Fire Issue
Post by: Ron Volk on August 23, 2009, 02:23:01 PM

I just upgraded not long ago to the Xantrex Truecharge 40 A, plus a Heart Echo Charge Pnl., Temp. sensor & some additional battery switches.  Everything has worked fine but the noise of the unit when it is charging is irritating at times.  The best price I could find at the time for all the products was surprisingly enough called 'BlackBearSportingGoods' located in Florida.

Title: Re: battery chargers -- ProMariner Safety & Fire Issue
Post by: Jack Hutteball on August 23, 2009, 02:50:33 PM
I upgraded to a Tru Charge 20, 7 years ago due to the suggestions on this board.  My boat and charger were only 1 year old at the time.  This is our 9th season (8 for the charger) and all is going great.  I might add that my original 4D - 2 house bank batteries are still alive and well because of it I think.  We regularly stay on the hook for 3 nights in a row and charge the next day.  We have been out as long as 3 weeks with no shore power,  but I did have to charge a couple of times with my Honda 1000 which I carry for emergencies.  Just were not doing enough motoring to keep up.  We never just run our engine to charge batteries.  I do not have a separate start battery, just alternate my 2 house bank batteries every few days.  I will add the start battery when I change my 4D's for 6 volt golf cart batteries.

Title: Re: battery chargers -- ProMariner Safety & Fire Issue
Post by: Ron Hill on August 23, 2009, 05:39:05 PM
Terry : I believe that you need to read the posts that Stu, I and others put on this message board and in the Mainsheet tech notes; before you buy and then later say that you are having problems with "that piece of junk"!!

I'll guarantee you that if you post " Gee, I just had problems with the old 8 pin trailer connectors from the engine instrument panel to the engine" - YOU WILL GET BLASTED!!!!!!!!

Ask questions and/or occurrences that are new. Read what is already out there!!  A thought
Title: Re: battery chargers -- ProMariner Safety & Fire Issue
Post by: karista on August 24, 2009, 06:38:36 AM
For what its worth, I am on my 3rd Xantrex Truecharge 20 Charger,  this charger is doing a great job as long as it works. I am not impressed with its reliability. The first one fried (could smell the fried wires), the second one just stopped working (checked the fuse inside which was ok). The charger is on all the time as I keep the refrigeration on. It is connected to the housebank (3 AGM Batteries) and the starting battery (AGM). The only reason I kept on replacing it with the same charger is due to fact that Xantrex provided a good replacement credit and the mounting location was all set.

Title: Re: battery chargers -- ProMariner Safety & Fire Issue
Post by: Ron Hill on August 24, 2009, 05:49:05 PM
Bernd : I'll say it again and then be quiet on this topic (for awhile). 
When you leave the shore power plugged in and the fridge ON with the battery charger ON, here's what happens:
The charger is constantly sensing the battery/s state of charge.  It turns ON and sees an OK battery then it turns OFF this happens many times each minute.  No wonder you're going thru battery chargers.  You're also wearing out the fridge components - all for a cold beer when you arrive at the boat?  Worse on the battery charger if the fridge is OFF - as it's cycling to 0 all the time!!
I've always recommend that you NOT stay plugged into shore power (when you're not on the boat) nor keep the fridge ON if you aren't there.  You're wearing out components needlessly and there is always the threat of a power surge during a Tstorm/drunk driver hitting and knocking down a power pole!!

Your boat, your choice.     
Title: Re: battery chargers -- ProMariner Safety & Fire Issue
Post by: Stu Jackson on August 24, 2009, 06:30:05 PM
... No wonder you're going thru battery chargers.  You're also wearing out the fridge components - all for a cold beer when you arrive at the boat?  

We've had this "cold beer in the fridge" conversation many times.  I agree with Ron, bring a cold six pack with ya when you go to the boat.  I wouldn't leave mayo or ketchup in a fridge on the boat because if the power goes out on a Sunday night or Monday morning, and you don't come down to the boat until Friday night, it's gonna be pretty gross.

I think the wear and tear on the fridge components is an important observation, and one which I've used in the past in this discussion.  However, it didn't occur to me, until Ron just addressed this, that the cycling of the chargers is also important.  With the newer microprocessor controlled chargers, they cycle more often.  If you read the "GOTCHA" topic (,4922.0.html), you'll see the impact of this on your batteries, too, which could lead to chronically undercharged batteries, which gets pretty expensive.

See "Plugged In or Not"  here:,5190.0.html (,5190.0.html)

Our fridge is 22 years old.  If it had been running 24/7 all those years, I don't think it would not have been able to last this long.

OTOH, one of our members had his boat right out in front of his office, and would go to the boat for lunch!  Couldn't disagree with him on that one! :party  PS - I think he sold his boat for a newer C36, maybe 'cuz his fridge finally was about to die... :shock:

Leaving Boats Plugged In All the Time:  see:

And, as Bernd says, if you'd switched your charger to a constant output, like the instructions say to do, you probably wouldn't have had those
Title: Re: battery chargers -- ProMariner Safety & FIRE Issue
Post by: Roger Blake on August 25, 2009, 05:04:37 PM
Terry and all...we are here to help each other. I know I have learned a lot from the experienced C34 owners on this site. I remember when I first joined this group (well, actually monitored a year or two before joining...but have been a member for many years now) and was taken aback at some of the direct comments that were posted. I've seen many folks take direct hits over the years from others on this site. Those of you who you feel others have taken shots at you, the "others" usually also provide you the links, or info, to help address the problem. I'm still on occasion taken aback from some of the comments can read an email/posting anyway you want to, or are in the mood for...because you aren't talking to the person directly. That is the shortcoming of emails and postings. Long story short, I've learned to be amused by many of these postings. I can only imagine that those who have been talking about the same issues and problems for a long time get a little tired of the same issues being brought up...when the solution has been posted or addressed several, or many times. So, I say to all, when I post something that has been previously beat to death, feel free to take your shots, I probably deserve it (but give me the links to the solutions while you are at it!!). I will do my best to take it with a smile, a comment to myself (you idiot), and a drink. Thanks to all on this site for the info shared, I know I've benefited greatly from it. Let's sail!
Title: Re: battery chargers -- ProMariner Safety & FIRE Issue
Post by: karista on August 26, 2009, 06:13:29 AM
The Xantrex Stapower has a "power supply" setting, thus I don't believe its charging algorithm is exercised. It basically becomes a simple power supply which is how I used it for my refrigeration. The Adler Barbour Refrigeration is now 18 years old, needed a small R-12 charge once in all that time and is doing a great job. The Xantrex failures I believe demonstrate a less than satisfactory robustness!

Title: Re: battery chargers -- ProMariner Safety & FIRE Issue
Post by: jmnpe on August 27, 2009, 10:28:54 PM
Hi Terry,

My professional experience with the Truecharge+ series ( the old yellow one ) has been very positive. They are still available online at attractive prices, and they will do a good job. The only "oops" with them was early in their production ( years ago ), they produced a whole bunch of them with the cooling fans wired backwards so that they were trying to push air through the unit instead of pull air through the unit, and this resulted in rapid failures. Other than that, they have been very good.

I have a new Truechage2 40 amp unit that I will fully evaluate and provide an update to my previous Battery Charger product review once Xantrex has the much-delayed remote panel available sometime next month. However, based upon the specs and limited testing, it appears that the Truecharge2 series will be generally very good, with possibly a few quirks that might earn it a low-level "WTF" comment.

Keeping you fridge running with the battery charger ON all the time will not "exercise" an smart battery charger like the Truecharge+ or Truecharge2 series of chargers, at least once the charger goes into the float mode. Once in the float mode, the Xantrex Truecharge_ series chargers will only initiate a full recharge sequence if the load causes the battery voltage to drop below about 12.5 volts for several minutes, OR once every 21 days. The low voltage re-trigger won't happen until the total load current significantly exceeds the rated capacity of the charger, which in the case of the Truecharge_ series will be either 20 or 40 amps. This won't happen with any of the small sealed compressor based systems that most of us have on our C34s.

The flip side of the argument is that your batteries will thank you if you don't leave them on a float charge for months and years at a time since this promotes positive grid corrosion ( i.e. - accelerated deterioration ) of your lead acid batteries. The alternative is to provide an AC powered DC power supply for just your 12v refrigeration system for when you are at the dock, and then use the battery charger to cycle charge your batteries when they actually need it. If you do a search of past postings, you will find the discussion I posted on how to do this, including where to get suitable parts. ( Stu, the "Search Master", can probably show you a link  :appl ) One of the Catalina owners even turned it into an article in the Technical Pullout section of the Mainsheet magazine about a year ago. If you can't find any of that, and you are interested in how to do it, just let me know and I can send you the information direct offline.


Title: Re: battery chargers -- ProMariner Safety & FIRE Issue
Post by: Terry Forshier on August 28, 2009, 10:51:21 AM
Those of you who have continued to post suggestions on this topic,I thank you. I now know a lot more about what happened to my charger, a promariner 40 amp. It did not just fail and fry. Upon further investigation I now find I was hit by a lightning strike. The adjusters and the repair people have all been here and there is no doubt. Besides the charger I burned through my sump pump and sensor, the air conditioner, most of the running lights and mast lights. My complete set of signetmarine systems including mast head insturments and smartpaks and wind speed and direction insturments and depth and speed transducers all non functional.. My pannel lights that are over the navagation table are sporatic in their functions. the tack is not working at all. A "team" of repair people have assended upon the boat so I will know more later. (I did order the truecharge 2 40 amp)
I am not asking for advice here so PLEASE no blasting. I am just thanking those of you who contributed to my query. It appears I will be using my runabout for awhile as this will take a few weeks to get repaired.

Title: Re: battery chargers -- ProMariner Safety & FIRE Issue
Post by: Stu Jackson on August 28, 2009, 11:03:09 AM
If you do a search of past postings, you will find the discussion I posted on how to do this, including where to get suitable parts. ( Stu, the "Search Master", can probably show you a link  :appl )

Terry and John,

The HOW TO directly connect a Fridge is part of the Battery Charger Evaluation topic, link previously provided in one of my earlier posts to this topic.  See reply #3, page 1.

Terry,  truly sorry to hear about your misfortune with the lightning.  You may want to consider, during your down time, searching this board and the Tech Notes Online on "lightning," not to look for avoidance measures, but to read what others have experienced with adjusters and fixit people.  F'rinstance, if your tach isn't working, then you need to check and see if you can get them to replace your alternator (the instrument itself might still be OK and the alternator is fried), and stay "one step ahead" of the guys making repair recommendations.  Good luck, and let us know if there's anything we can do.
Title: Re: battery chargers -- ProMariner Safety & FIRE Issue
Post by: Ron Hill on August 29, 2009, 09:57:17 AM
Terry : Sad to hear that you were visited by that "Zillion Volt LIGHTENING Gorilla".
Knowing that you were plugged (AC ON) with the battery selector DC ON you need to make sure that the adjusters check EVERYTHING in both the AC and DC circuits.  I'd also run continuity and resistance checks on all of the wiring runs to make sure that Catalina's butt splices are really intact.  Good Luck